By Olive Tree Employee: Genny Gager

Bible commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. Often overlooked, however, is the value that using scripture to understand scripture can bring. God’s inspired word is a complex tapestry of themes all woven together, and the development of those themes can provide us with insight into the relevant message of the Bible for today’s readers.

Finding our way around these themes can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of subjects covered in the Bible. A word search can be helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and the context in which words are used. The great news is that Olive Tree offers the Thompson Chain Reference system, which links various themes together as they are touched upon and developed throughout Scripture. The very heart of this product is the thematic chains that number in the thousands, and people at all stages of learning about the Bible have used it in the 100 years since its initial release. The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid us in our study.

We’ve put quite a bit of attention into converting the rich topical content so it can be used in the Bible Study app. Our goal was to make navigating the famous topical chains easy and intuitive and to allow quick access to the additional materials as well.

We’re going to walk through a quick example of how the Bible Study App can make navigating the Thompson Chain enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the PC version of our software. We’ve designed this resource to work seamlessly with the built-in resource guide, so if you don’t already know how to open it, read this article to open it in the split window, and have your Bible of choice open in the main window of your app.  Although we’ll be relying on the PC version in our example, other versions of our app will have similar functionality.

If you want to follow along with the example, bring 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible. With everything set up, the screen will look similar to this (your screen may look a little different depending on what resources you have and how you have your resource guide set up):

Thompson Chain1

To activate the chains, tap the name of the Thompson Chain under the commentaries section of your resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a listing of verses directly related to your location:

Thompson Chain2

Choose the verse you want by tapping on it in the split window. In this example we’ll choose 17:4:

 

Thompson Chain3

You can now choose the theme you want to explore in the list under that verse, for instance choosing 1409, Giants, results in the following:

 

Thompson Chain4

Now it’s as easy as tapping on each verse reference to get a popup where you can read the appropriate Bible text.

When you are done with this chain, you can tap the back arrow at the upper left corner of the split screen to return to the verse menu.

The wealth of other information in the Thompson Chain resource is easily available as well. Return to the base screen of the resource guide by tapping the back arrow until your screen looks similar to this:

Thompson Chain1

Notice the entries for the Thompson Chain located in the Introductions and Outlines sections. Just tap on an entry to quickly access the information.
Finally, some other gems are available but a little less obvious. For this example, tap the David entry under the People section. After you’ve tapped on it, the screen will look like this:

Thompson Chain5

The Resource Guide automatically shows you that there is an article on David available in the Thompson Chain resource. Tap on the article to read it. There is also an image on the Journeys and Life of David under the Images section that you can open.

We hope that this quick example will help you explore and learn about the Bible with the Thompson Chain Reference System, a trusted resource that has been used by generations of Bible enthusiasts. When used in combination with the Bible Study App, you are just a few taps away from unlocking the themes of the Bible as they weave in and out of the entire text.